Important: According to our readers' feedback and our tests and as of October 24th, 2020, BulletVPN is the ONLY VPN that is compatible with Showmax and DSTV. We have received numerous complaints and tested: ExpressVPN, NordVPN, Hola VPN, CyberGhost, Surfshark, PureVPN, PIA, HMA VPN, Ivacy VPN, and VyprVPN. If you know about other VPNs that support streaming Showmax OR DSTV please comment below.

How To GuidesVPN

How to Watch Showmax from Anywhere in the World

Story Highlights

  • Where is Showmax available
  • Showmax and geo-restrictions
  • Unblock Showmax with a VPN
  • Best VPN for Showmax

When it comes to video-on-demand platforms, Netflix is undoubtedly the king of the hill. It has an international audience of over 180 million users, the largest by a mile. Content and global availability fired the streaming service to the top of the charts, but in some countries, competition is stiff.

In South Africa, for example, a local streaming platform called Showmax is one of Netflix’s closest rivals. The service is mostly available in Africa, in addition to Europe and the Asia/Pacific region. However, it’s not as global as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video.

According to some reports, South Africans say they prefer Showmax over Netflix. That doesn’t come as a surprise when you consider the service’s rich library, which offers the best shows from Hollywood, Britain, and Africa. And although Showmax has a presence in many countries, the widest catalog is for those who reside in South Africa.

Therefore, to get the best out of your Showmax subscription, you need to have a South African IP address. And the best way to do that is with a VPN.


Content Overview


The Lowdown on Showmax

Showmax is a product of MultiChoice Group, Africa’s biggest pay-TV provider by number of subscribers. It is a standalone VOD service that allows cord-cutters to watch shows and movies without any cable subscriptions or contracts.

MultiChoice launched Showmax in South Africa in 2015. Later that year, it expanded to Europe, North America (no longer available), Australia, and New Zealand. Then, in 2016, it covered 35 more countries in Africa, taking its tally to 65+ nations all over the world. They include:

South AfricaGermanyNew Zealand
AustraliaGreeceNorway
AustriaIndonesiaPortugal
BelgiumIrelandMalta
DenmarkItalySpain
FinlandLuxembourgSweden
FranceMonacoSwitzerland
IcelandNetherlandsUnited Kingdom

Showmax offers different catalogs for its subscribers, depending on where they are. Users inside South Africa will benefit from the richest and most extensive library, featuring content from Hollywood, Britain, Kenya, and local programming.

Data from the Broadcast Research Council of South Africa (BRCSA) revealed that South Africans watch Showmax more than Netflix, but just by a small margin. However, according to Digital TV Research, the US streaming giant had more subscribers than its South African counterpart.

Pricing and Subscription

As I mentioned above, Showmax is a product of MultiChoice, which also owns DStv, a pay-TV satellite service. Those who have a DStv premium subscription, which costs about $54 a month, get Showmax for free. Meanwhile, DStv Compact (R399 – $26.60) and Compact Plus (R519 – $34.59) subscribers only have to pay an additional R49 ($2.60) for Showmax.

All you have to do is create a Showmax account and add it to your DStv account:

  1. Visit the Showmax website to sign in or sign up.
  2. Click Manage Account, followed by Manage Subscription.
  3. Select the standard plan, then choose “DStv add to account” as your payment method.
  4. Enter your South African ID number.
  5. Next, you need to confirm your mobile phone number as you will receive a one-time pin (OTP) via SMS to that number.
  6. Enter the OTP and start watching Showmax on up to five devices.

But you don’t have to be a DStv subscriber to enjoy Showmax. The latter is a standalone streaming service that you can access with your smartphone, laptop, tablet, and other devices. It offers only one subscription package for cord-cutters, which costs R99/month ($5.26).

In return, you’ll benefit from two simultaneous streams and a 14-day free trial, not to mention top international and local shows.

What to Watch on Showmax

Showmax offers more than 10,000 hours of quality content from Hollywood blockbusters to local originals. Libraries differ depending on your country of residence, but the widest selection is inside the South African catalog. You’ll find content in English, Afrikaans, isiZulu, Kiswahili, Sepedi, SeTswana, Sesotho, and isiXhosa.

  • Succession
  • His Dark Materials
  • Game of Thrones
  • Big Little Lies
  • Westworld
  • The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Younger
  • Tali’s Wedding Diary
  • The Girl from St Agnes
  • Trackers
  • Cloak & Dagger
  • The Real Housewives of Johannesburg
  • Die Spreeus
  • Harlots
  • Burden of Truth
Top Shows on Showmax

Compatible Devices

In addition to its affordable pricing and rich library, Showmax is compatible with almost any operating system. You can it online via website or app on the following devices:

  • iOS
  • Android
  • PC
  • Mac
  • Chromecast
  • Apple TV
  • DStv Explora
  • Xbox One
  • PlayStation
  • Smart TVs

Showmax from Abroad – Geo-blocking

You can access Showmax from over 65 countries across Africa, Europe, and the Asia/Pacific region. However, the content may differ depending on your location. Due to licensing agreements, Showmax cannot offer the same programs in every country as those rights may belong to another service. Therefore, the South African catalog features the widest selection of movies, series, reality TV shows, and original programs.

And what about those who live outside Showmax’s broadcasting region? Well, they will encounter a location error message as soon as they open the streaming service’s website: “Showmax is not yet available in the United States.” That’s all she wrote, basically. You won’t be able to access anything if you live abroad.

Showmax is able to determine your location using your IP address. In fact, it will display your actual IP just underneath the geo-error message.

IP addresses help web services determine your digital identity and approximate location. They won’t be able to pinpoint your street or building, but they can narrow it down to city and country. And that’s more than enough to block you from accessing their content or limiting what you see.

Each country has a set of designated IP addresses that Internet service providers distribute to users. Most ISPs give customers one IP to connect to the Internet, but some of them offer different ones each time you go online. Nonetheless, these numerical labels help Showmax discover where you are and subsequently block you.


Unblock Showmax with a VPN

The only way to access Showmax from abroad is by tricking it into thinking that you are inside its broadcasting region. To do that, you need a virtual private network, better known as a VPN.

This tool reroutes your Internet connection through its own server network. It allows you to choose your target location, then sends your traffic through the server you selected. Furthermore, it changes your IP address as soon as you connect to the VPN server, making it appear as if you were somewhere else.

Your new IP address will match the location of the VPN server. In other words, if you connect to a server from South Africa, you’ll get a South African IP address. As a result, Showmax will think that you are inside the country and give you access to its content.

Bypassing geo-blocks is a key VPN feature. But hiding and changing your actual location isn’t the only thing VPNs can do. These tools are excellent for privacy and anonymity as well. You see, when VPNs reroute your traffic, they send it through an encrypted tunnel so that no third party can monitor what you do. They also don’t keep records of your online activities.

Key VPN Features

There are hundreds of VPN services on the market nowadays. But just like any other product, not all of them are the same. Only premium brands offer top-tier features, and these VPNs cost money. Still, it’s a small price to pay to protect your online privacy and data.

So before you subscribe to the first VPN service you come across, make sure it has the following features first:

  • Zero-logs policy: Reputable VPNs don’t collect, store, or share your sensitive data. Their servers eliminate information like IP addresses, browsing history, web destinations, and connection timestamps.
  • AES-256 encryption: There are several encryption algorithms out there, but the most secure one to date is AES with 256-bit keys. It prevents ISPs, hackers, and government agencies from monitoring your online activities.
  • Kill switch: Top VPN services always prepare for the worst. They offer a kill switch that terminates your device’s Internet connection if the VPN malfunctions. As a result, your traffic won’t leak to your ISP’s servers.
  • Unblocking capabilities: Having a broad server network alone isn’t enough for bypassing geo-blocks. Some web services like streaming platforms ban VPN IP addresses, preventing you from viewing their content. premium VPNs, however, can unblock the likes of Showmax, Netflix, and BBC iPlayer.
  • Fast speed rates: If you’re using a VPN to stream your favorite shows on Showmax or other similar platforms, you need a VPN with speedy servers. Otherwise, you’ll face buffering issues.

How to Install a VPN and Unblock Showmax

VPN apps are compatible with the majority operating systems. That means you can easily install them on almost any device. Of course, each VPN brand offers different device compatibility, but one thing is for sure, no VPN has tailor-made apps for gaming consoles or Smart TVs.

That is why the majority of elite VPNs offer a Smart DNS proxy solution. This tool only reroutes the URLs that expose your location, without tampering with the rest of your connection. It won’t change your IP address nor encrypt your traffic. However, you can set up Smart DNS on pretty much any device, including smartphones, laptops, tablets, routers, smart TVs, PS4, and Xbox.

As for VPNs, here’s what you have to do to install them:

  1. Visit a premium VPN’s website and subscribe. You’ll find our top recommendations below.
  2. Then, download the VPN app from Google Play or the App Store. You can install it on iOS, Android, Mac, or Windows devices. Some VPNs also have apps for Linux and Kindle Fire.
  3. Open the app, sign in, and connect to a server from South Africa.
  4. You can also connect to other servers where Showmax is available, but South Africa features the widest library.
  5. Start binging on your favorite shows no matter where you are.

Best VPN for Showmax

If you’re a VPN beginner, choosing the right service can be challenging. But if you abide by the must-have features that I stated earlier, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices by a great deal. Still, that requires a fair share of research from your part, which can be a bit time-consuming.

Therefore, if you’re in hurry, we rounded up the best VPN services for unblocking Showmax, all while maintaining your security and privacy.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN-Logo

ExpressVPN takes the British Virgin Islands as its base of operations. The country is not part of any alliances that enforce data monitoring or retention like the Five, Nine, and 14 Eyes. The company also does not store any records of your online activities, meaning even if someone manages to seize its servers, they won’t find any information that can be traced back to you.

Moreover, ExpressVPN uses the Advanced Encryption Standard with 256-bit keys, the most secure algorithm on the market. AES-256 is so far unbreakable, as you would have to go through an extremely large number of possible combinations. This encryption protects your traffic from prying third parties, including ISPs, government agencies, and hackers.

And for extra security, ExpressVPN offers a built-in automatic kill switch. This feature is your last line of defense against any potential data leaks.

But most importantly for Showmax users, ExpressVPN has more than 3,000 servers in over 94 countries all over the world. These servers can unblock the most popular streaming platforms, including Showmax, DStv Now, Netflix US, Hulu, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer. Furthermore, you won’t encounter any buffering issues thanks to the fast speed rates on offer.

Other important features include a Smart DNS proxy, five simultaneous device connections, 24/7 customer support, and 30-day refund policy.

For more information about ExpressVPN, check out our detailed review.

Get ExpressVPN

Top VPN Provider

30-Day Money-Back Guarantee

Pros

  • 3,000+ in 94 countries (160 locations).
  • Military-grade encryption.
  • A kill switch.
  • Fast speed rates.
  • 24-hour live chat support.
  • 30-day refund policy.
  • Access to all Netflix catalogs, as well as other streaming services.
  • Compatible with all major operating systems.
  • No-logs policy.
  • P2P and torrenting support.
  • Smart DNS proxy service.
  • Up to five simultaneous connections.

Cons

  • Pricier than other elite VPNs.

BulletVPN

BulletVPN-logo-1

Another reliable VPN service you can count on to watch Showmax is BulletVPN. The company is based in Estonia, outside privacy-intrusive jurisdiction. And just like ExpressVPN and other elite counterparts, BulletVPN uses the AES-256 encryption algorithm and follows a strict zero-logs policy.

And the kill switch comes with a unique feature called BulletShield. You can only activate the latter in conjunction with the kill switch from the app settings. BulletShield will prevent your device from connecting to the Internet unless you’re using a BulletVPN server.

Now, the company does not have a wide server network as other VPNs, but they strategically cover key regions all over the globe. That includes South Africa, the US, Canada, most of the European countries, Australia, and more. You’ll also enjoy fast speed rates, ideal for streaming Showmax programs.

Additional features include six concurrent device connections, a smart DNS proxy, round-the-clock customer service, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Learn more about this VPN in our BulletVPN review.

Get BulletVPN

Best VPN for South Africa

30-Day Money-Back Guarantee

Pros

  • AES-256 encryption.
  • No-logs policy.
  • Kill switch + BulletShield.
  • Fast speeds.
  • Unblocks streaming platforms.
  • Allows torrenting and P2P.
  • Free Smart DNS.
  • 30-day refund policy.
  • Six simultaneous device collections.
  • round-the-clock customer support.

Cons

  • Smaller server network than other VPNs.

There are other top VPNs we recommend, namely Unlocator VPN, NordVPN, and Surfshark. Each one of these brands has excellent privacy features and unblocking capabilities, so you can unblock Showmax securely from anywhere.

Avoid Free VPNs

A lot of readers will be wondering whether they can use free VPNs to unblock Showmax or other services. And the answer is yes; there are plenty of VPNs that cost nothing. However, they still come at a hefty price.

Ironically, free providers violate your privacy by collecting your sensitive data and selling it to third parties. That includes your browsing history, IP address, and the websites you visit. They share this data with advertisers so that they can deliver targeted ads. Free VPNs also endanger your security as some of them contain malware directly in their software or through ads.

Moreover, they won’t do you much good when it comes to bypassing geo-blocks. Most of these brands can’t get past the VPN blacklisting, so Showmax and the majority of streaming will remain off-limits. Besides, free VPNs have a limited server network that is often slow and overcrowded with users.

In short, we recommend you avoid free VPN services because they do you more harm than good.


Unblock Showmax Outside South Africa – Final Thoughts

Showmax delivers content straight out of the top drawer. From international award-winning shows and movies to local original programs, this South African streaming platform has it all. It also available in more than 65 countries across different regions, yet the South African catalog is the richest.

Therefore, if you live outside South Africa or Showmax’s broadcasting region, you need a VPN to change your IP address. But make sure you use a premium provider to avoid privacy leaks, speed issues, and unblocking failures.

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Ralph Peterson

Ralph was bitten by the tech bug from an early age. Today, he is a cybersecurity geek who is obsessed with online privacy. Peterson is also a hardcore streamer of the latest TV shows and sports tournaments. We constantly hear him shouting at his screen whenever there's a live Premier League match (or a bad ending to a TV series like GoT).

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